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Freedom Rider: American Murder in Pakistan

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by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

The lies began at the very top, with the president’s own words.” The President of the United States went before the American people – and the world – lied about a U.S. spy held for killing two Pakistanis, and blatantly misrepresented the laws governing diplomatic immunity. U.S. corporate media knew the “diplomat” was really a spy, but misled their readers. If respect starts with the truth, then the U.S. and its corporate media have no respect for the community of nations or its own citizens.

 

Freedom Rider: American Murder in Pakistan

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

Davis is a CIA agent and probably an employee of Xe, once known as Blackwater.”

The inherent wrongdoing and corruption created around the world by the American empire is sometimes exemplified by a single event. Such is the case of Raymond Davis, an American who killed two Pakistanis.

On January 27th Davis was driving in Lahore when two Pakistanis on a motorbike pulled along side his car. Davis claims that one of the men was armed, and fearing a kidnapping, he shot them both in selfdefense. A mysterious group of Americans in another vehicle went to rescue Davis from a gathering crowd, and in so doing ran over and killed a third Pakistani.

These facts are not in dispute, but all else is. The United States government first refused to confirm Davis’ identity and then immediately claimed that he was a diplomat and as such had immunity from foreign prosecution. President Obama referred to him as “our diplomat in Pakistan” which was a complete and bald-faced lie.

After nearly one month of claiming that a man driving a private rented car with GPS, guns, maps and telescopes was a diplomat, the United States finally confessed to what anyone with common sense had already figured out. Davis is a CIA agent and probably an employee of Xe, once known as Blackwater. Xe is the private security firm which contracts with the United States government to send mercenaries all over the world to do America’s bidding.

The confession came about only because the foreign media, such as the British newspaper The Guardian, reported on Davis’ true status. The American media then began reporting what their overseas colleagues had already said.

The American corporate media dutifully did what their government told them to do and they have now admitted as much.”

But the corporate media in this country were not merely following the lead of the Guardian and others. They were well aware that Davis was a CIA agent because their own government confirmed the fact to them and asked them to keep repeating the same lies. The Associated Press, the New York Times and others very dutifully did what their government told them to do and they have now admitted as much.

The New York Times had agreed to temporarily withhold information about Mr. Davis’s ties to the agency at the request of the Obama administration, which argued that disclosure of his specific job would put his life at risk.”

That assertion too was a lie. Pakistani officials explained that Davis’ CIA role was well known in their country. He was safely in their custody and the open secret of his identity made the claims of danger entirely false.

Not only did the American government lie about Davis and his CIA ties and bully the media into spreading those lies, but they also mislead the public on what diplomatic immunity does and does not entail. The lies began at the very top, with the president’s own words.

With respect to Mr. Davis, our diplomat in Pakistan, we've got a very simple principle here that every country in the world that is party to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations has upheld in the past and should uphold in the future. And that is if -- if our diplomats are in another country, then they are not subject to that country's local prosecution.”

The relevant portion of the Vienna Convention states clearly that Pakistan is within its rights in holding Davis. “Consular officers shall not be liable to arrest or detention pending trial, except in the case of a grave crime and pursuant to a decision by the competent judicial authority.”

So the facts should not be in dispute. Davis is not entitled to immunity because he isn’t a consular official or diplomat of any sort. He was never in danger, and the media should have known that as well.

Davis is not entitled to immunity because he isn’t a consular official or diplomat of any sort.”

Instead, for nearly one month the American people have been fed a steady stream of lies from their government, who then intimidate the press into repeating those falsehoods. Once again we see that our ability to independently gather information important to us as citizens is extremely compromised.

Pakistanis, like millions of people around the globe, live under the rule of governments who live under the rule of the United States. Their sovereignty is an illusion and their people know it. Military aid flows to those at the top, as it did in Egypt, creating a corrupt plutocracy beholden to their American masters instead of to their own people.

Pakistan has to contend with killer drones and killer Americans. We will probably never know the circumstances of the Davis killings but we do know that Pakistan will be pressured into releasing him without trial, and the Pakistani people will be angry and hate all Americans more than they do already.

So it goes with all empires. Their imperatives create many Raymond Davises and cause death and hatred all over the globe. It doesn’t change because the president is a Democrat instead of a Republican and it ends only when subject peoples demand that it does. Hopefully the Egyptian model can work for Pakistan as well.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.

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The Government Spokesman/Journalist Turnstile

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/index.html 

Morrell -- a former ABC News reporter before joining the Pentagon during the Bush administration -- is one of those countless Beltway officials who seamlessly travel back and forth between government positions and "journalism."   As his extremely amiable chat with Chuck and Savannah demonstrates, there is very little difference between the role played by establishment journalists and government spokespeople, which is why they're able so easily to move back and forth between the two.  And -- as his "far left" slurs and his Bush-like "I-visited-the-detention-facility-and-was-so-impressed-with-its-professionalism" defense demonstrates -- he's also one of those many, many bipartisan National Security State officials in Washington who fit every bit as comfortably in a Republican administration as they do in a Democratic one (just like his boss, former Bush and current Obama Pentagon chief Robert Gates). 

Slight problem with this article?

The author wrote that he  " was never in danger, and the media should have known that as well."Was that established in teh article and I missed it? From what I read, he was about to be kidnapped.

The burden of proof

"On January 27th Davis was driving in Lahore when two Pakistanis on a motorbike pulled along side his car. Davis claims that one of the men was armed, and fearing a kidnapping, he shot them both in selfdefense. A mysterious group of Americans in another vehicle went to rescue Davis from a gathering crowd, and in so doing ran over and killed a third Pakistani."

Sounds to me like Ms. Kimberley got it right.  The killings have been substantiated; Davis's claims have not.

Fine article but modified exception taken to one aspect

Quote:    Instead, for nearly one month the American people have been fed a steady stream of lies from their government, who then intimidate the press into repeating those falsehoods .".."

Unfortunately for the US citizenry, the government does not have to INTIMATE the American Pravda, they are eager and willing participants in Government lies and coverups.  This has no doubt been going on since the days of "Yellow Journalism" and probably reached it's institutional fruition with "Operation Mockingbird."  The conduct of the NY Times, WaPo and others during the runup and during the Iraq War is another case in point.  The suppression of FISA spying during Bush's term, the criticisms of the Rolling Stone writer who exposed McChrystal, and the use of the term "enhanced interrogation techniques" instead of torture are equal manifestations. 

Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com has a pretty good article and analysis of the subject.  In his blog he cites former Bush Administration torture lawyer, Jack Goldsmith, who is excited about his new books that illustrates what he calls the patriotism of American journalists.

From Salon:

 He (Goldsmith) argues that this concealment reflects the fact that American national security reporters are "patriotic" -- by which he means they are driven by a desire to protect American "interests" -- and this, he believes, is a good thing:

This is an example of an underappreciated phenomenon: the patriotism of the American press. For a book I am writing, I interviewed a dozen or so senior American national security journalists to get a sense of when and why they do or don’t publish national security secrets. They gave me different answers, but they all agreed that they tried to avoid publishing information that harms U.S. national security with no corresponding public benefit. Some of them expressly ascribed this attitude to "patriotism" or "jingoism" or to being American citizens or working for American publications. This sense of attachment to country is what leads the American press to worry about the implications for U.S. national security of publication, to seek the government’s input, to weigh these implications in the balance, and sometimes to self-censor

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/03/01/assange/index.html 

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/02/28/biases/index.html 

But on the grander scale what ought to be clear to people by now (and it is for critical thinkers and informed types) is that the American press is a combination of propaganda, public relations, and sexual tintillation.  Anyone who "relies" on the MSM is certifiable.  Grant it, that would be the overwhelming majority of Americans.  Regrettably, Americans are too lazy to think or seek information on their own, my friend Chasm enunciated the line that will stay with me forever:  "Some people would rather die than think."

John Pilger has written about US media propaganda and censorship for years:  how dozens of reporters knew about My Lai but only one reported it or how citizens behind the Iron Curtain knew instinctively not to trust anything reported in the press, whereas Americans fall for the oakey doak like simple minded children.

http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46384 

http://www.progress.org/censor02.htm 

http://www.itv.com/presscentre/presspacks/johnpilgerthewaryoudontsee/default.html 

 

p.s.  As an afterthought, let me amend my comments by saying that there IS some intimidation, however, the intimidation is internal and institutional, it comes from the editors, "big name" celebrity media types, and their sycophants who create a hostile working environment that works against the truth and transparency.  These people will lie or terminate an underling rather than give up their precious "access,"  i.e. the social events/affairs where they can kiss government and high placed officials's asses.  As Greenwald has written, Bob Woodward has made millions and is considered a journalistic darling for revealing government secrets whereas Assange is deemed public enemy number 1. 

Thanks, once again Ms.

Thanks, once again Ms. Kimberly & BA Report...

I find it interesting how the Charlie Sheen non-story is front and center at this time... 

Opens up a lot of legitimate questions about the real actions of governments...

BRAVO!!!

BINGO

Not only is the corporate media obsessed with the lunacy of Sheen and other celebrity bimbos, but NPR is becoming unlistenable.  Perhaps this is due to the influence of ersatz humanitarian contributers like Monsanto, the nuclear power industry, and The Gates foundation.  And Pacifica stations like WBAI have fallen into the hands of loonies who are obsessed with curing cancer with a vegetarian diet,  magnets, and crystals;  advocates of the miracles of positive thinking; scientology, astrology, and homeopathy; and its unique, deranged form of identity politics.

BAR is an oasis of real journalists, good writers, and intelligient readers whose comments  are as germane and as well written as BAR's articles.  Mr. Ford, you should put EC on the payroll--except when he writes about religion.

I've just sent a contribution.  I implore others to do the same.  We need BAR; it needs us.



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